A former Contra Costa County youth counselor pleaded guilty in Martinez Wednesday to charges that he molested three boys, including two who were under his supervision. Thomas Jewell, 54, of Pleasant Hill, pleaded guilty to 11 felony sex crime charges in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence, Deputy District Attorney Dana Filkowski said.
The plea came a week after Jewell pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of producing child pornography. During that plea hearing, he admitted to molesting two minor victims while creating the child pornography. Jewell is expected to serve a 29-year federal sentence at the same time as the county sentence, Filkowski said. As part of the plea agreement, the former Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall counselor will also be on parole for 20 years and is under a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender will be tracked via GPS, the prosecutor said.
The sex crimes began in 2005 and took place across Contra Costa County, attorneys have said. Martinez police began investigating Jewell after tracing downloaded child pornography files to his home computer. After investigators seized the computer, they found thousands of photos of child pornography, including footage that he created, and were then able to identify the victims — including one who was 6 years old when the molestation began, Filkowski said. Officers from the Martinez, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill police departments worked together to seize and analyze the evidence found in Jewell’s Pleasant Hill home.
“These guys were able to bring justice to these kids and make sure this guy was never able to hurt another kid again,” she said. On Wednesday, Judge Clare Maier praised the police for their investigation. The judge also heard letters written by two of the victims’ family members, who wrote in support of the plea deal, since it ensures that the victims won’t have to face Jewell during a court trial.
Jewell is set to be sentenced in Martinez on March 22, about a month after his scheduled sentencing in federal court. He will serve his prison term in a federal facility, Filkowski said.
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